Bowman Field

Historical Marker #1676 in Louisville notes Bowman Field, which is Kentucky’s oldest continuously operated public air field.

When one thinks of Louisville airports, Standiford Field quickly comes to mind. But long before Louisville International Airport came into being, Bowman Field helped usher in air travel to that city, and the state.

Bowman Field was developed in 1919, when Abraham Bowman, along with business partner Robert Gast, leased fifty acres of land from the federal government which had been seized under the Alien Property Act. The area that became Bowman Field was previously owned by Mary Caldwell, who had married a German baron. During the First World War, the government claimed the land from Caldwell’s heirs.

In 1922, Bowman field was used by the Army Air Corps Reserve as a base, and later as a depot. That same year the Aero Club of Kentucky made a push to make Bowman Field a municipal airport. More property was eventually purchased, and by 1938, the field had concrete runways, which were constructed by the Works Progress Administration. During the 1920s and 1930s, Bowman Field served Trans-World Airlines and Continental Airlines with both mail and passenger operations, but after World War II, both companies switched their service to Standiford Field.

Bowman Field saw heavy use during World War II. A flight training school was established on the grounds and troops were stationed there at different periods. While the Army Air Reserve maintained its home at Bowman Field after World War II, the airport was sold to private owners and Louisville and Jefferson County municipalities.

Today, Bowman Field serves private and corporate flying needs and is a reliever airport for the nearby Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field), both of which are operated by the Louisville Regional Airport Authority.